Hyndluljóð – The Poem of Hyndla

Freyja spake:

11. “Tell to me now | the ancient names,
And the races of all | that were born of old:
Who are of the Skjoldungs, | who of the Skilfings,
Who of the Othlings, | who of the Ylfings,
Who are the free-born, | who are the high-born,
The noblest of men | that in Mithgarth dwell?”

Hyndla spake:

12. “Thou art, Ottar, | the son of Instein,
And Instein the son | of Alf the Old,
Alf of Ulf, | Ulf of Sæfari,
And Sæfari’s father | was Svan the Red.

13. Thy mother, bright | with bracelets fair,
Hight, methinks, | the priestess Hledis;
Frothi her father, | and Friaut her mother;–
Her race of the mightiest | men must seem.

14. Of old the noblest | of all was Ali,
Before him Halfdan, | foremost of Skjoldungs;
Famed were the battles | the hero fought,
To the corners of heaven | his deeds were carried.

15. Strengthened by Eymund, | the strongest of men,
Sigtrygg he slew | with the ice-cold sword;
His bride was Almveig, | the best of women,
And eighteen boys | did Almveig bear him.”

11. Possibly two stanzas, or perhaps one with interpolations. The manuscript omits the first half of line 4, here filled out from stanza 16, line 2. Skjoldungs: the descendants of Skjold, a mythical king who was Othin’s son and the ancestor of the Danish kings; cf. Snorri’s Edda, Skaldskaparmal, 43. Skilfings: mentioned by Snorri as descendants of King Skelfir, a mythical ruler in “the East.” In Grimnismol, 54, the name Skilfing appears as one of Othin’s many appellations. Othlings: Snorri derives this race from Authi, the son of Halfdan the Old (cf. stanza 14). Ylfings: some editors have changed this to “Ynglings,” as in stanza 16, referring to the descendants of Yng or Yngvi, another son of Halfdan, but the reference may be to the same mythical family to which Helgi Hundingsbane belonged (cf. Helgakvitha Hundingsbana I, 5).

12. Instein: mentioned in the Halfssaga as one of the warriors of King Half of Horthaland (the so-called Halfsrekkar). The others mentioned in this stanza appear in one of the later mythical accounts of the settlement of Norway.

14. Stanzas 14-16 are clearly interpolated, as Friaut (stanza 13, line S) is the daughter of Hildigun (stanza 17, line 1). Halfdan the Old, a mythical king of Denmark, called by Snorri “the most famous of all kings,” of whom it was foretold that “for three hundred years there should be no woman and no man in his line who was not of great repute.” After the. slaying of Sigtrygg he married Almveig (or Alvig), daughter of King Eymund of Holmgarth (i.e., Russia), who bore him eighteen sons, nine at one birth. These nine were all slain, but the other nine were traditionally the ancestors of the most famous families in Northern hero lore.

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